Category Archives: video ride

Our Summer Excursion: Days 33-51 Elkins, WV

This is Our 2012 Summer Excursion series recapping our experiences from June 3-August 3 by time and location. Please let me know if you would like more details about anything and I will do my best to work them in or reply personally. Follow the TAG to get the full story. Maybe I will get through the whole trip before 2013 (it’s NYE, so maybe not)!

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D33: July 4 should have been full of fireworks and bbqs and flags and maybe even parades, if you have some sort of traditional holiday flair you follow. While I am not into tradition, it was great to have been invited to a block party on our first day in a new town that had all of the above. As our history would have it, we lived in Buckhannon, WV (west of Elkins) for two years, and I worked in Elkins for part of that time. We met some great people and fell in love with this mountain community before moving to Huntington six and half years ago. One of those great people, Beth King, handles the community arts center, where I worked. She invited us to the block party! Hurray for Beth! As time would pass, many of those faces would cross our path again at the bookstore, bike shop, tennis camp, grocery, and on the street. A small town intimacy; warm and welcoming.

D34-49: The four children and I filled our days as best we could while Brent worked 12-14 hour days. We dined together as a family every night in the Davis & Elkins cafeteria and enjoyed breakfast at the Graceland Mansion every morning. Lunch was a toss up. Some days we had lunch together, and some not. Having the opportunity to be on campus with him for those weeks was invaluable to the children and for our relationship. I may not have been able to get any time away from the children, but knowing I might get 30minutes of shared parenting a few times a day gave my mommy voice a rest, and let me close my eyes just a bit to the hyper-vigilance we kept while living in a hotel. Last year we stayed in Huntington while he worked the Governor’s School for the Arts. It wasn’t impossible for me, I enjoy temporary challenges such as these, but it wasn’t ideal.

To make this entry less cumbersome, you can browse the photo gallery below, complete with captions, of our Elkins stay. It covers what we ate since we didn’t have a kitchen, how we kept our sanity living in one room, with two beds, the local bike culture, where we spent our money on extra-curriculars for the children, our geocaching finds, the views, the people, the fluff.

Spoiler: In terms of bicycling, Elkins was the best! We never drove in town, we didn’t need to, everything was very, very close to where we were staying. We walked most places and biked when we needed/wanted to save time/have more fun. I never saw another child on bikes outside of the bike parade and the park. I rarely saw other riders in general. Not sure why. Maybe they are more of a walking community? It was ideal for us. I was so spoiled, that thinking about going home to a 2.5mile ride to grocery was daunting.

I drove to Beverly twice, 10miles south of town for London’s Girl Scout camp, and utilized a carpool for her other trips to camp. Otherwise, the van just sat in the parking lot until the day we left. It even attracted ants. Ever have a vehicle with a pest problem?

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D50-51: The day before the summer program ended we were presented with a room charge for some of the damages the children inflicted on the hotel. It’s an unsettling story involving play dough in the carpet and a five year old who wet the unprotected mattress, (I don’t want to get into details but feel welcome to ask me about it anytime. Great reason to invite us over, stop by, or meet up, eh?).

So on day 50, Saturday July 21, the program ended. We had the car packed up and we drove off to Buckhannon for dinner and a drive around our old stomping grounds. We booked a hotel in Charleston, WV, an hour from home, so we could swim and jump on the beds and decompress before tossing our house sitter out one more time before our full Summer Excursion would end.

Our plans to bike and camp the Greenbriar Trail system with friends never came together. Brent was concerned about work at Marshall and an exhibit he was invited to participate with at the Clay Center. We headed home before our beach trip. I was glad we weren’t out on the trail, post derecho, in the rain, as forecasted, but I wasn’t happy to be going home. My heart is with my family and friends (new and old), following a map around the country side, city scape, coast lines, and mountain towns. Such a gypsy.

That’s Elkins in a blog-post nutshell. Wasn’t it dreamy? Next up, our spat at home and our last week on the road, in Charlotte, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Note: I tried to include as much photography as I could, but I left out a great deal! I don’t know where it went. Maybe on the phone? Anyway. It was fun, fabulous and we hope to have more of the same again. More small spaces, more outside adventures, more new people, more crazy.


Kidical Mass Jingle Bell Ride Wrap Up


There was so much energy in the air and on the streets of the South Side neighborhood last night. We left our house with an hour of daylight left planning to meet up with a handful of friends who said they’d ride with us for a Jingle Bells & Holiday Lights Kidical Mass. The RSVP numbers were in the mid teens, with another dozen maybes, yet, I didn’t expect them all to show up. I was bouncing out of my saddle when I pulled into the park. I saw several folks unloading bikes, pumping tires, adjusting helmets in the parking lot. As I approached the fountain, the numbers multiplied. Dozens of cyclists not only made an appearance, they decorated their bikes! One middle schooler was elfishly dressed, with gift wrapped saddle and helmet. There was tinsel. Bows. Lights. Bells. Ribbon. Hats. Presents. Ho ho ho pants. The whole tri-state was represented, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia residents.





(photo credit: Dennis Blevins)

I wasn’t able to get a photo of everyone before the ride, and I wished I could have. It was their creativity, their presence that made last night so wonderful. So much joy. Brent did capture a lot of video, please take a look. He got up very early to put this together for you.

Kidical Mass December 2012 from Brent Patterson on Vimeo.

Our group of 42 stretched a block. I’d be at a stop sign in the front and see Brent at the tail, just crossing an intersection. The traffic was light, so while we didn’t roll a group through stop signs, it was often possible for large portions of us to cross or turn together. It is important to teach the children where the signs and lights are, how to read them, and what is an appropriate and safe action. Several parents helped us turn right onto a four lane, then left at the next light onto a side street. Keeping the children to our right side as much as possible and behind the lead rider (moi) and in front of the sweep (Brent). When crossing back to the park we had to be a bit more aggressive by corking the crosswalk so everyone could return safely.


Another factor I wasn’t planning, but played very well for my jingle, were the bumpy brick streets. It was akin to mogul skiing. The brick was sometimes bumpy, but the dips and mounds were amusing. My bells rung gayly.

(photo credit: Dennis Blevins)
(Photo credit: Dennis Blevins)

Holiday music would have pushed the ride up to the top notch. As it was, it was fantastic, but a little holly jolly holiday tuneage would have made it twinkle. Then again, no one would have been able to hear me give directions and check in with the children about cold toeses and runny noses.

ACE riders! (photo credit: Dennis Blevins)

The weather was amazing, and I do think that much of the success of the ride was because of the uncontrollable. We saw 50Fs during the day and they began to dip with sunset. I’d say it was still upper 40s when we arrived with a smidgen of light left and only lower 40s or high 30s when we embarked for home. The roads were dry, all the snow and ice from Friday nights Critical Mass having melted away. The winds dissipated and we rolled merrily along.

Every ride around the world has their own take on a Kidical Mass to meet the needs of their community. If you are inspired to plan your own Kidical Mass ride, and you have my full encouragement, please check out these links.

iPhone panoramic view A of our Gino’s Pizza, post ride, dinner group. We filled the house!
iPhone panoramic feature. One point of view of the dinner group. A group of ACE members joined us for the ride, sans children, which made their appearance even more special. I love that everyone felt comfortable and welcome to join us.
We parked in the lot at Ginos Pizza after the ride, where more than half the riders joined us for dinner! I forgot to flip my Kidical Mass sign down for the ride (and press!) but did so for this photo (taken through the shop window).
Musical bikes. Avery (6yo) rode with Oliver and I for the ride and with Brent for the to and from home portion. We packed extra everything. Good thing too, as Avery dunked his gloved hands into the icy fountain at the park.
Oliver (3yo), bundled up in the PeanutShell on the Yuba. He insisted on the scarf, which doubled as a hand muff, as he wouldn’t wear his gloves. The windbreaker jacket, tied on backward around the seat, covered his pajama pants, which were a base layer under his daytime pants which he removed earlier. We choose our battles.

For more takes on this Jingle Bell ride, check out the gallery and article in the Herald Dispatch today.

Mount Yuba

It was hot today. Our thermometer read 91, but weighed in at 81F. Either way, we were sweating, before we even left the house. London was an absolute grump about riding her bike to a birthday party at the art museum (because she was missing another party). She’s made the trip before, but today she was sulking. Elliot was looking forward to it on his single speed, but we made a compromise and called a friend who was driving by our way going to the party as well.

Cara offered to take the three youngest up, and proposed we strap a bike to her newly acquired bike rack. Brilliant. The children get to avoid the climb, but London would still get some time in the saddle on the way home. We decided to carry the three boys down on the Yuba.

This video is the portion after the difficult part and before the museum. It’s six minutes of pedaling with a nodded off toddler. Not much to see, but the homes and hillsides in some of the shots are lovely.

Initially, I was going to have Brent ride the Yuba up with two boys. With Cara taking 50lbs of child in her car, I decided to give the cargo bike a try. It was slow and steady, with three breaks on the first steep portion, then a very rhythmic climb there after. I was even able to bump it up a gear or two toward the last 1/3 of the trip. My legs, heart and lungs didn’t enjoy the ride up initially. Then about half way  I realized my muscles had found a groove and were working hard, but not aching. Wow, what a wonderful feeling. Everything seemed to be smooth and consistent, attainable.

I wore a dress, this time with shorts underneath, just in case, but I didn’t need them, and they just made me more hot. Since I still haven’t been in a shoe store to go through the dreaded process of being disappointed, I wore my running shoes (running! that’s laughable), which were more breathable than my leather topped everyday shoes. I packed the flip flops for the party.

Brent’s speedometer had us going up at about 5mph, and down at about 19mph with a lot of braking. He noticed the rear brake wasn’t stopping the bike, just slowing it down as we descended. This has me concerned. The front brake was working fine. He theorized it was the heat from riding the brake on the downside, but I need those discs to be able to handle this weight and heat. Any other ideas?

If you haven’t ridden up this hill on a bike, but have driven it, it’s very intimidating. There is no passing room, no berm, and tight blind turns. We use our sense of hearing the most and thus far, we have been able to navigate the street with pleasant, cautious drivers. Both times I have ridden up, there has been another cyclist climbing as we are going down.

Miles Walked: 0 Biked: 5.5 Bused: 0 Drove: 0 Carpool: 0 This week
134.6 2213 1176.6 3691.8 287.2 Since August 14, 2011

My First Yuba Mundo Ride with Our Children

Our bikes at school.

When I got off the plane on Tuesday I was reading Bike Snob and thinking about the new bike in my garage. Brent managed to pick up the Yuba Mundo from Huntington Cycle and Sport on Friday. I contemplated having him wait until I got back, but I also wanted him to show it off at Critical Mass that night, which he did. No modesty here.

In case you missed the clip from another post, here’s the video of Brent’s ride with the three boys during Critical Mass. London rode my bike along side. I believe Brent’s brother Aaron shot the video for him.

Yuba Mundo Inaugural Ride from delano on Vimeo.

I knew this bike was amazing because I rode it in Columbus last month, but I had never ridden it with any weight or even up a hill. You can’t pay for hills in central Ohio. Test riding cargo bikes along our section of the Ohio river is near impossible, but I did make a few attempts to track some down, to no avail. Brent gave me his opinion from his ride on how to stop and handle the balance load and turning radius. I had been reading dozens and dozens of blog entries and watching videos for a couple of months.

When I got home, I took the Yuba out first thing. I didn’t even bring in my bag. I went straight to the garage and road it around the block. It was too dark to see the shifters and I wasn’t even sure of the street conditions. I was a bit wobbly and uncertain, but elated. Yesterday I spent time thinking about riding and finishing Bike Snob. Today I set my mind to pick up the children from school with the Yuba Mundo. Brent left one bike at the school for a child to ride home and I set up the new bike with the iBert and stared at it from end to end. There were several parts missing that I had ordered; disc brakes, wheel skirt, and double kick stand, and noted to myself to call the shop to get an ETA.

First attempt with three boys at school.

I loaded Oliver into the rear seat, as that was his preference and I practiced going around the block several times getting used to the weight and handling. I really do not like rear weight. It feels like the front tire is going to lift off the road on every hill. The height of my saddle was suitable, the space between the iBert and my knees was far better than the other bike and the rear child seat looks more comfortable than the front. I planned to ride Avery in the rear seat, Elliot on the deck and Oliver in the iBert, but I knew that London would beg to ride on the deck often.

Circling the parking lot.

Brent came home from work to ride to school with me just in case anything would happen. He’s a worrier, but I was happy to have time with him. He decided to hook up the trailer to his bike so we could load the children’s back packs, as I still haven’t ordered saddle/pannier bags for the Yuba. Every time we ride to the school we argue. We just have a different opinion about which route to take and where to ride on the road. The first tiff took place before the first block was behind us. I like to turn up the first road, he likes to take the second. Because he was behind me and saying “go here” and I didn’t know where “here” was, I stopped on a steep uphill and tipped the bike to the right, with Oliver in the back, just about to the ground. Hmmm, this was going to be difficult.

Having learned my first lesson, to put both feet on the ground and hold both brakes when stopping, I took the second turn with Brent, which was indeed less of a climb and easier to ride. It was also slightly more difficult to make the next left at the intersection but not impossible or dangerous. I climbed up Wiltshire without much trouble and we disagreed about which direction on Woodland to ride and whether it was safer to take the lane on Norway or to use the side walk. We compromised with going to the right on Woodland, looping back down Fairfax and taking the lane on Norway.

I was sailing well until the climb on the one way portion of Norway. Brent has been telling me to take the pressure off the chain when I shift gears and I have been practicing, but I am not very good at this task. If I take the pressure off, then I slow down and have to apply more pressure. While climbing Norway I was moving into a lower gear and the chain came off the front chain wheel completely. I wasn’t going anywhere. This is why I was glad Brent was there. I was able to hold the bike while he realigned the chain. Had I to do this alone I would have had to remove Oliver on a busy street and figure it out. I couldn’t even walk the bike up the hill, the chain was locked up. Lesson two, take pressure off the chain before shifting gears.

Once at the school with all the children retrieved I was feeling really anxious. I didn’t do so well getting there and now I was adding two extra children to a bike I was still very uncomfortable on and unfamiliar with. We loaded everyone up and I practiced starting and turning and stopping in the parking lot. I think I did about six loops in different directions to figure it all out. I lectured the boys about moving and tipping, as this would injure us all. With Brent hauling the trailer full of back packs, London on her Junior Viper and me carrying three children on the Yuba, we set off down the hill toward the Bookworm’s Attic. It was still Thursday, our bookstore day, and we were not going to get sidelined from our agenda.

Heading down the one way portion of Norway on the sidewalk.
Stopped to return books.
Parked out front of the Bookworm’s Attic

Books and candy purchases, bodies cooled, we strode out again for home. During our ride I observed many things about the differences in riding this long tail verses the old mountain bike. The first was the balance. The second was braking and foot position. Third, chain pressure and shifting. Fourth was the impact of the rear passengers over bumps. They took a huge jolt even over minor surface features. There jostling around had me swerving the front end to keep my balance. I do think I was truly bothered by the terrible roads and sidewalk conditions for the first time since riding. Before they were just annoying, now they were dangerous. The fifth thing of notice was the need for smooth transitions between surfaces. This goes beyond jacked up sidewalks and potholes. This bike really needs those ramps at crosswalks. I couldn’t take the curb and just bounce down them like with the other bike, I would loose control. Unfortunately a few spots on our route don’t offer these ramps at convenient places, but I found ways around them. In some situations I used drive ways and others I went an extra half block back to use a ramp. While I realize my place should be on the road, if you were a driver on Norway, you would not be expecting a cyclist, especially a slow one with three children. The sidewalk is safer, but not by much. (Sixth) The Yuba also didn’t like going through thick gravel where the side walk was covered in some portions. Wobbly conditions at best. I believe this is because all the weight was in the rear and if there were more on the front, it could have been a better scenario. Yet I don’t have front racks or bread baskets at this time and this is the best I can do.

Panting up Norway.
Pushing up Fairfax.
This is deceiving, we were actually flying down Wiltshire.

This looks like a long list of complaints. Almost like buyers remorse. I am a complainer but these are just kinks I am working out. I have confidence in this bike and know that with more practice things will be easier. I can’t do much about the route conditions (although I am considering filling out one of these forms) but I can keep trying and be patient.

To give the Yuba Mundo the praise it deserves, it was easier to ride up hills than my other bike. It was great to be able to carry three children at once. It was wonderful to sit more upright and my back is appreciative too. The shifting was smooth, except when I managed to thwart it’s natural talent. It is certainly a show piece, and a fabulously functional one. I was going to have the children give the bike a name, as they have named our cars and it seems appropriate and a bit ridiculous. Suggestions for names? I will run it by the panel judges and let you know what they decide.

All these miles below are approximate because we haven’t keep very accurate records since my departure last week. I hope to get my act together and record them better next week. The two miles on the bus was from Brent taking his entire class on the free downtown bus to get coffee at River and Rail yesterday. I would have loved a professor like this when I was a freshman, but it might have creeped me out as well….

Miles Walked: 0 Biked: 46 Bused: 2 Drove: 44 This week
53.7 358.8 12.6 539.2 Since August 14, 2011
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